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Spacecraft Materials’ Reflectivity and Surface Morphology: Aging Caused by Proton Irradiation

Keil, Denise and Sznajder, Maciej and Renger, Thomas and Bartels, Nils and Seefeldt, Patric and Riede, Wolfgang and Spröwitz, Tom and Dekorsy, Thomas (2023) Spacecraft Materials’ Reflectivity and Surface Morphology: Aging Caused by Proton Irradiation. Journal of the Astronautical Sciences. American Astronautical Society. doi: 10.1007/s40295-023-00418-3. ISSN 0021-9142.

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The radiation environment in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) is dominated by protons captured by Earth’s magnetic field in the Inner Van-Allen belt. Defunct satellites and other space debris objects can be resident in this environment for several decades and even centuries. So far, there is little knowledge about the impact of long-duration proton exposure to the surface morphology and reflectivity in LEO environment. We report on a laboratory test campaign exposing typical spacecraft materials with protons of 100 keV and 2.5 keV kinetic energy and a fluence corresponding to an in-orbit duration of 100 years and 120 years, respectively, in an 800 km sun-synchronous orbit. Although we find microscopic changes in surface morphology, reflectivity changes of all tested materials were smaller than 15%. This result brings positive news for on-going efforts to use optical methods, e.g. lightcurve measurements or active polarimetry, for characterizing space objects, since it suggests that data can - to a good approximation - be analyzed without accounting for proton induced aging effects that might affect the materials’ optical properties over time.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/199415/
Document Type:Article
Title:Spacecraft Materials’ Reflectivity and Surface Morphology: Aging Caused by Proton Irradiation
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Keil, DeniseUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-7016-2791147703462
Sznajder, MaciejUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-9917-0581UNSPECIFIED
Seefeldt, PatricUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-2067-9458UNSPECIFIED
Spröwitz, TomUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-5369-6919UNSPECIFIED
Dekorsy, ThomasUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-2257-2854UNSPECIFIED
Date:16 November 2023
Journal or Publication Title:Journal of the Astronautical Sciences
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Publisher:American Astronautical Society
Keywords:Space Aging, Protons, Complex Irradiation Facility
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:other
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R - no assignment
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - no assignment
Location: Stuttgart
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Technical Physics > Active Optical Systems
Institute of Space Systems > Mechanic and Thermal Systems
Deposited By: Keil, Denise
Deposited On:29 Nov 2023 11:48
Last Modified:26 Mar 2024 12:51

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